It’s obviously been an upsetting few years for Nets fans. However, even if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, let’s act like there is. We have to start with the worst trade in NBA history. Lets recap the trade that Nets GM Billy King made with Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics around three years ago today.
The Nets were a young, up and coming team. They were making huge strides in building towards a potential contender. Ever since they had success in the early 2000s, they had been near the bottom of the league every year. They were even 12-70 one of those years, it was terrible. But then it all changed, very quickly. The change began with the sale of the franchise to Russian billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov. Prokhorov, being an icon in Russia, was a presidential candidate in the 2012 Russian Election. After finishing third in the election, the businessman decided to shift all of his focus to the NBA team he had bought two years prior, the Brooklyn Nets. He moved the Nets to Brooklyn, hired Billy King, and told King that he would do ANYTHING to ensure a championship came to the Nets franchise. King listened, and began wheeling and dealing to move assets around. First came Deron Williams, the star point guard on the Utah Jazz. Williams had already done enough in Utah and due to some controversy, it was probably best that Utah moved him. Then, they traded with Atlanta, for all-star Joe Johnson. Now, they had their big three, Williams, Johnson, and a young center in Brook Lopez. The success began.
After the two main acquisitions, the Nets were ready to roll. However, after an early exit in the playoffs, the Nets made a decision. Williams and Johnson were not getting any younger, they had to win now. So, Billy King went out and did what he did. Here it is:
Brooklyn Nets receive: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and D.J. White
Boston Celtics receive: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, three first round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018), and the right to swap first round picks in 2017
At first glance, many Nets fans were excited. The five players the Nets gave up were primarily role players, Wallace probably being the best of them. We knew the Nets had just gotten two of the better players in the league, who were also not getting any younger. Therefore, there was a sense of urgency in Brooklyn like never before. Fans was thrilled.
Flash forward to three years later, boy were we wrong. After a few early round exits, Pierce left Brooklyn for Washington, Garnett was traded from Brooklyn to Minnesota, Johnson and Williams were released and bought out of their contracts. The Nets are 20-62 and STILL paying off the Celtics for the worst trade ever made in NBA history, swapping the #1 overall pick in this year’s loaded draft for #27 overall. Now we ask, what does the future look like for the Brooklyn Nets?
Well, GM Sean Marks has done a good job attempting to clean up the mess that Billy King left him. Marks was the one who let Williams and Johnson go, and presented a pretty decent team this year. If guard Jeremy Lin avoided injury, the Nets could have potentially been a little bit better this year. It seems as if Prokhorov has stepped back a little bit and let the GM function, which is key to the franchise functioning. We still owe only one pick to the Celtics, our first round pick next year. Other than that, the Nets have the lowest cap in the league and are ready to come back from what Billy King led them into.
I believe Sean Marks is on the verge of making his first mistake, though. Yahoo Sports! basketball insider Adrian Wojnarowski (Woj) has recently went on a podcast and claimed that the Nets are reportedly interested in sharpshooter JJ Redick. Redick, a Brooklyn native, has been seen at New York Mets games recently with his child. Redick will command a good amount of money on the open market and the Nets should avoid handing him a big contract. Being 32, Redick does not have much left in his system and cannot solely make the Nets a contender. The Nets should continue to do what they are doing, build a team with young talent and wait until they have a top pick again in 2019. That draft will be highlighted by Zion Williamson and Michael Bagley, both young studs who are current juniors in high school.
As a Nets fan hoping for a better future, I ask that GM Sean Marks does not put us in further turmoil by setting us back another few years. The future is bright, let’s believe.